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Eric Trudgill    -    30 September 2018

An up-date for new visitors to this site:

After posting two articles a month on Gypsy Genealogy for nearly seven years Eric has devoted a year to polishing the contents and format of eight Family Tree books heís written on four major Romany families, the Boswells, Buckland/Buckleys, Lees and Smiths (one book for each of the first three and two for the Smiths), and more briefly on 30 other families arranged in three books geographically.

All eight books will be published by the Romany and Traveller FHS, the first we hope before Christmas, and in the meantime two pages from each book have been posted each month in lieu of articles. This month, the last, itís the turn of Ten Major Gypsy Families of Wales and the English West and North, which starts with the families of Daniel Evans and Abel Ryall in Wales and the West of England, and ends with Wartons and Heron/Youngs in the North of England.


The Family of Abel Ryalls: Explanations

The Ryalls, a West Country Gypsy family well known to the pioneer gypsiologists, are hard to find in the records, partly because their surname is often given as Ryles, Riles, Royals and Rails and in each case sometimes without the concluding letter s. The Ryalls are also hard to structure genealogically, partly because the gypsiologists were given poor information.

They believed Merrick Lockís sister Prudence married a Henry Ryalls, but given her absence so far in the records this looks unconvincing. They believed Matthew Lockís son Buz married first a Caroline Florence (actually a Caroline Loveridge), and later a Caroline Ryalls by whom he had eight children (actually only four).

Itís much more likely Merrick Lockís daughter Patience (a name similar to Prudence), baptised in 1807, married an Abel Ryalls and had a Cornelius christened in N Cerney, Gls in 1830, a John christened in Hawling, Gls in 1832, a Walter and James born about 1834 and 1836, and a Christiana christened in Sapperton, Gls in 1839, knife grinder of Thornbury (Merrick christened a child in Hawling in 1813, and another in Thornbury in 1841 the year after his son Lucas, who was to have a Ryalls son-in-law, also christened a child there). Whatís more, Abel had had at least four children by a previous wife, Cinamenty: an Anne christened in Littleton on Severn, Gls (next door to Thornbury) in 1821, an Abel junior christened in Newent, Gls in 1828, and, I believe, a Henry and Caroline born respectively about 1824 and 1826, the last named being the Caroline Ryalls who married Patience Lockís cousin Buz Lock.

The Henry Ryalls I believe to be a son of Abel and Cinamenty married a Harriet Davis and had five significantly named children, Byrom, Walter, John, Angelina and Hezekiah. The Caroline Ryalls I believe to have been Henryís immediately younger sister appeared in the 1851 census in Nailsea, Som aged 24, with her brother Walter Ryles (I believe her half-brother) aged 16, and her children Perun, Emma, Elisha and Elizabeth aged respectively 7, 6, 5 and 1). This surely makes Caroline the wife of Elisha Cooper, who had a Perren christened in Llantillo Crossenny, Mon in 1843, an Emma born in Clevedon, Som in 1844 daughter of Elisha Cooper and Caroline formerly Ryall, an Elisha junior christened in Abbots Leigh, Som in 1846, a Unity (soon re-named Elizabeth) born in Oxenhall, Gls in 1850, an Annie born about 1852, and a Mary Ann christened in Taynton, Gls in 1856.

The last three of Carolineís Cooper children became an integral part of their step-father Buz Lockís family, half-siblings to his four children by Caroline, Arthur, Hezekiah and Selina (all christened in Adbaston, Sts 1859-1861) and George christened in Oxenhall, Gls in 1866. Carolineís Annie described herself as the daughter of Buz Lock at her marriage in 1873, Carolineís Mary Ann described herself as the daughter of Buz Rile at her wedding a few weeks later, while Carolineís Elizabeth, born in Oxenhall about 1850, was recorded on her death certificate as the daughter of Luther Rhyles tinman (a lisped or mis-heard version I assume of Lusha/Elisha Cooper).

That Caroline was Henry Ryallís sister is obvious from their children: Caroline had a Hezekiah, and four years later so did Henry; Henry had a Byrom and Carolineís Elizabeth had an Abiram; and Carolineís son George contracted what was clearly a cousin-marriage with Henryís Angelina. That Caroline was Henry Ryallís sister is obvious too from their travel-profile: she and Elisha Cooper christened their first three children well away from the Ryallsí favourite family territory on the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire border around Newent (where her brother Abel junior had been christened), Oxenhall, Sandhurst, Taynton and Aston Ingham, but thatís exactly where her Elizabeth and Mary Ann were born or baptised; she and Buz Lock christened their first three children far away in Staffordshire, but their fourth in Oxenhall two years after Henry had christened his Hezekiah there; and soon she, Buz and their children were there for good.


The Family of Robert and Ann Holland: Explanations

Robert Holland, after a long-standing informal union, married Ann Bradbury belatedly in Loughborough, Lei in August 1813, with Job Sherriff witnessing. Robert was probably a son of the Edward Holland (baptised in Berkswell, War in 1746 son of Edward and Elizabeth vagrants) who married Margaret Hodgkins in Claybrooke, Lei in 1773. He was probably brother of the Richard Holland who married a Sarah, and almost certainly brother of the Mary Holland who married Thomas Smith belatedly in Hillmorton, War in December 1813, perhaps encouraged by the just-married Robert and Ann.

Ann Bradbury was probably a younger sister of the Mary Bradbury who in Bedworth, War in 1799 married George Booth son of the John Booth and Mary Davis who had married in Claybrooke in 1778 and who, besides George, had a Joshua and Charlotte who married in Loughborough respectively Margaret Hodgkins in 1803 and Brington Clayton in 1808. Job Sherriff, the witness at Annís wedding (son of the Thomas Sherriff and Mary Butler who had married in Alderminster, War in 1759 witnessed by George Davis) married Ann Hodgkins in Hillmorton in 1803.

This complex network of families and locations can be seen continuing in the children of Robert Holland and his sister Mary Smith. Two months after Robert married Ann Bradbury he witnessed the wedding in Stanwick, Nth of his son Edward (probably named after Robertís father and grandfather) to Rosanna Hodgkins, and a week later in the same church Edward witnessed the wedding of his brother Benjamin to Sarah Hodgkins. Four years after Robert and Ann married in Loughborough their daughter Elizabeth Holland married Tobias Clayton there, son of Bringtonís brother James. In Glooston, Lei in 1819 Robert Holland junior married Argetta Smith daughter of Absalom Smith and Elizabeth Jones, who had married belatedly in Hillmorton in 1813 jointly with Absalomís brother Thomas Smith and Mary Holland.

Robert and Annís next child, Thomas Holland, married Sarah Clayton daughter of Bringtonís sister Dinah by John Booth, the brother of George husband of Mary Bradbury. Robert and Annís John Holland married Patience Hodgkins, daughter of the Thomas who had witnessed Ann Hodgkinsí wedding to Job Sherriff. Robert and Annís Joseph Holland married Sinfie Sherriff daughter of Job and Ann, witnessed by Patience Hodson (Iím sure an error for Hodgkins). And Robert and Annís William Holland married Selina Clayton, daughter of Brington by his second wife Maria, the widow of Joseph Sherriff (son of Jobís older brother John).

Iíll leave you to trace the network of families and locations in the following generations, and return to Robert Hollandís probable siblings, Richard and Mary. Richard and Sarah Holland christened a Mary in Weston cum Welland, Nth in 1790, and an Elizabeth in Gt Easton, Lei in 1792, close to Robertís territory. Thomas and Mary Smith christened a Hayes (Azey) in Sharnford, Lei in 1792 (where Robert and Ann Holland christened John), an Edward in Gt Easton in 1798 (where Richard and Sarah Holland christened Elizabeth), and a Humphrey who seems to have led his cousin, the Benjamin Holland married in 1813, into christening a daughter Amboretta in Pytchley, Nth seventeen days after he did precisely the same thing himself. For a detailed account of Mary Hollandís children by Thomas Smith and their descendants see my forthcoming Family Tree book, Ten Major Smith Families Part One, published by the Romany and Traveller FHS.

Copyright © 2018 Eric Trudgill